Think of mothering as a deep well. The well has plenty of water, but it is not bottomless. If water is constantly being drawn and no chance is provided for renewal, sooner or later the well will run dry.
The first step is for a mother to change her perceptions regarding her own needs and learn to find a worthy place for them in her long list of priorities. Taking "time out" to catch up on much needed sleep, read, go for a walk, join an exercise class, or pursue some private interest is not something to feel guilty about. In fact, it becomes totally justifiable if contemplated from the context that the time a mother spends nurturing herself is a personal renewal, which enables her to go back to caring for her family with new gusto.
If you find you can renew your energies with your kids in tow, go for it! Megan Harris, a single-parent massage therapist from Paradise, California, who cares for her kids on alternate weeks, feels she never gets enough quality time with her kids.
"Every weekend we try to do something different. Sometimes we go to garage sales, take a picnic to the river or the park, call up a friend and go to the movies, or go to the local fair or farmer's market," she says.
Self-nurturing is not the same as self-indulgence, though self-indulgence can be part of the nurturing process, which can also be seen as a form of healthy self-preservation.